Alex Noren (Getty Images)
Ross McGowan was joined by Alex Noren at the top of the Castelló Masters leaderboard as rising star Tom Lewis was forced to pull out after suffering from a virus.
The 20 year old Englishman, whose victory in the Portugal Masters last week in only his third start as a professional put him third in Europe's Ryder Cup race, managed an opening level par 71.
But, still under the weather, he decided to withdraw and leave tournament host Sergio Garcia and defending champion Matteo Manassero to play on their own in the second round.
Garcia resumes this afternoon four under par and Manassero two under, with the lead shared on eight under by England's McGowan and Swede Noren.
McGowan was two in front overnight following a sparkling 64, but bogeyed two of his first three holes when he teed off again in the rain.
Only 163rd on The Race to Dubai and needing to climb into the top 115 to retain his card, McGowan hit back with birdies at the fourth, eighth and 11th.
Noren, tipped by many for a Ryder Cup debut next September, charged from two under, however, with six birdies in 12 holes.
One behind were another Englishman, Richard McEvoy, and Thai Thongchai Jaidee.